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As we get our house ready for #5 arriving in less than two months, that means that it’s time to go through dressers and closets and put away old clothes to be used for younger siblings later. While we may not have chosen to have all girls, it really is a huge blessing! I don’t “need” clothes for anyone other than older two most seasons.
The tricky part of passing clothes down though is making sure that you store them in a way that you can find them when you need them, and store them so they aren’t in worse condition that when you put them away. Spending a little bit of extra time on the front end will make both of those tasks easier. If you aren’t storing clothes to pass down, but are moving your winter clothes out of the closet to make room for summer items, these tips will also help!
Tips for Storing Clothes
Store on Hangers
If you are putting away clothes that you will want to hang up again, don’t waste time taking them off hangers. Put them away in bins (or just move them to out of the way closets if you are that lucky) with the hangers still on them. Now when you are ready to get them back out again you have little to no work to do. Since this means having extra hangers head to Dollar General for some of the cheapest hangers around. They sell kid and adult sizes and most are 10 for $1. Note: You don’t want to use wire hangers – they can leave marks on your clothes!
Separate by Type and Size
Clothes that are being stored in bins need to have extra organization put into their storage planning. You may feel like shoving them all into storage bins and sitting on the top of it to get it closed… but come time to use these again you will regret that. Take a few extra minutes and sort the clothes by type and size: pants, shorts, long sleeve vs. short sleeve etc. Then put items in the bins with like items together.
When we started this project, we had trash bags filled with clothes to sort later. I don’t recommend trash bags as a form of long-term storage. They just break and the clothes become a balled up mess. A lot of them had stains on them, so we had to go through them.
Label Bins Well!
With bins sorted and organized beautifully, go ahead and share that organization with everyone. Put on the top and sides of the bin what sizes, and types of clothing are inside. Example: Girls Size 4/5 shorts, pants and shirts. If you don’t want to write straight on the bin, put a piece of duck tape on it and then write on the duck tape. With all the fun colors you can even grab pink duck tape for the girls clothes and blue for boys (not that we would know about that with 5 girls).
For adult clothes this is also handy. I have bins for Maternity winter or Maternity summer clothes, and confess that I also a bin or two for clothes that I long to fit in again… if you don’t want to put actual sizes on them then go cute: “clothes for 6 months after baby” “clothes for when pigs fly”…
Store Clean and Scented
Make sure that clothes are put away clean. If they look clean but the last time you washed them was months ago, you may want to wash them again. For kids clothes if they go into storage with stains they will come out with darker more noticeable stains. If you store clothes in the attic this will be even more true! You want closed boxes, clothing bags or other ways to store them that are airtight and protected from light. Many folks also recommend vacuum sealed storage bags, though for a 4 year olds clothing I don’t think that matters too much. We choose to keep clothing stored on high shelfs in our garage. It is cooler than the attic and easier to get something out versus climbing the attic ladder.
I would highly recommend storing clothes with scents. Skip the moth balls as they have pesticides that you really don’t want seeping into your clothes over the next year, and go with used dryer sheets that are scented with essential oils. We use lavendar or cedar, and most scientists will say that cedar is perfect for keeping bugs away if that is a concern. These will lose their scent over time and should be refreshed once every 4-6 months. Just put it on the top of your bin and it makes it very easy to put in a new one from time to time.
Backwards Hangers Trick
When you go to move clothes for a new season in your closet, put all of the hangers in one direction. When you go to return a piece of clothing to the closet that you’ve just worn, turn the hanger in the opposite direction. At the end of the season, donate any clothes that have their hangers in the original direction. It means you didn’t love that item enough to wear it the past few months, so you probably won’t wear it next season either. This is a good way to make sure you’re constantly getting rid of unnecessary clothes that just take up space.
Put Away Vertically
If you only have one closet rod in your closet, buy a double closet rod. They’re an expensive solution to adding double the space in your closet. Try putting shirts on the top and skirts and pant on the bottom.
For dresser drawers kids are great if they can see their clothes. So stop putting clothes away in piles and start to put them away on the their edges. Now they can see what they shirt is without unfolding the whole drawer! If dividers would help keep that even more tidy, then skip a trip to the store and just use a piece of cut cardboard. It’s a kids drawer no one will see it or care that’s it’s not fancy.
Lastly, as you put away winter items in the next few weeks remember to leave at least a light jacket or sweater out for that random cold day we’ll still have here and there. Don’t worry about leaving out the heavy stuff, you can layer with the light weight items.